November Newsletter – RPBBA

Good evening beekeepers!

Is it just me or has it been unusually warm lately? If you’ve still got some winter prep to do, you’re in luck. Looks like we’ve got a beautiful weekend ahead. Just a few things to consider: remove extra space in the hive, remove any queen excluders, langstroth top entrances should be open to allow ventilation through the hive. I’m simplifying; we know there is more to consider as well. Never fear, our November meeting will be geared toward Winter discussion.

RPBBA Calendar of Events

📅 Monday, Nov 14th – RPBBA Meeting @ 7pm

📅 Monday, Nov 21st – Study Group @ 7pm

November Meeting

Our November meeting will be 7pm Monday, November 14th at the Rockwood Park Nature Center. Does everyone remember the wheel from our May meeting at Molly’s? Well it’s back and loaded with more questions. This time the questions will all be Winter related. Come, give the wheel a spin, and put your bee knowledge to the test. Reducing the hive, Winter feeding, insulating the hive, reducing moisture: Where will the wheel land? Never fear if you don’t know the answer; your fellow beekeepers will be there to add to the discussion. Come join us at the Nature Center on Monday, November 14th 7pm. Doors open at 6:30pm. Add to Google Calendar


2023 Beginner Beekeeping Course

The Rockwood Park Backyard Beekeepers Association (RPBBA) is holding their annual Beginning Beekeeping Course over 4 Saturdays from end of January to beginning of March.

Attendees will receive instruction on the

🐝History, Hive organization & location, 🐝Woodenware and equipment,

🐝Dynamics of the Colony, 🐝Diseases, Pests and Predators,

🐝Getting Started, 🐝The Beekeeping Year, 🐝Floral Sources, and 🐝Bee Field Day (hands-on apiary day)

Class dates will be Jan 28, Feb 11, Feb 25, & Mar 11 alternating Saturday’s with the Huguenot Beekeepers Association (HBA). Participants who are unable to make a class at RPBBA, may attend and receive the same instruction at HBA. The course is $100 through Jan 21st and $115 thereafter. We are limited to 40 registrations; enrollment includes a 1-year membership to RPBBA. For more information, including a signup form, please see our website

Club News – Board of Directors Results

The elections for the 2023 Board of Directors have concluded. A quorum was met. With all 37 votes in favor and none opposed, please join me in saying congratulations to Theo Hartmann, Jody Conway, Sherry Kelley, and Don Osbourne for their election to the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors consists of a maximum of 9 members with appointments for 2-year terms per our Bylaws. A full list of Board members, including those elected last year, is listed below.

  1. Jody Conway

  2. Theo Hartmann

  3. Stan Houk

  4. Sherry Kelley

  5. Don Osbourne

  6. Dennis Marshall

  7. Rick McCormick

  8. Steve Syrett

  9. Kyree Tanner

Next up, the Board of Directors will meet to select Officers. If you have any interest in a position within the club, now is the time to make that known.

It’s been said once and I’ll repeat: Leadership positions are not limited to experienced beekeepers or long time RPBBA members. New-bee’s are welcome and encouraged to bee active within the club. I got my start beekeeping in 2020 with the Beginner Beekeeping course. I had 2 classes under my belt and 1 club meeting before everything shut down due to Covid-19. In Fall of 2020, I volunteered. At that time, I was a stranger to most RPBBA members but the club gave me a chance anyhow. For me, volunteering was a way to be active in a community that interested me and gain a mentor. I gained several. Our club is 100% run by volunteers. I strongly bee-lieve that you get back what you put in. When you volunteer, you become a familiar face. Others see the help you offer and in-turn are willing to help you. I’ve always had members willing to assist with my hives and answer questions when I needed it (constantly, lol). Had I not volunteered, my web of assistance would be much smaller. I don’t think I can express enough the value in bee-ing an active member. New members, do not be afraid. Support is available for any role of interest to you. Your fellow members will not let you fail.

Anyone interested to volunteer can send an email to rockwood.beekeepers or talk with a Board member. Once Officers for 2023 have been selected, the announcement will be sent to the club membership.

Thank you all for another successful year of elections. I’d like to give a special thanks to Rick McCormick for his time serving on the Nominating Committee. I really appreciate you leading the way and partnering with me on the communications.

Will you be selling nucs, packages or queens this year?kQUA_UTVNtHNO4WDeo7RcPyn5ToVKm9ALr7kSONsHOdey3L273GGbXvxfxkRuVooSl2RchYRT2bQNwWKNjKN-ITby_x4j-_km8CZCdqzYv4V9pkdnxMaOK8Y6nPs1HNY3vbSQSnuxiA3WXyO0bkSxAOGnafzTWxq6Pbgfz8SWfkobLEBiPVyeVnUVyOwhQ

Ever so often, the question pops up- how do I get started? Where can I get my bees? We’d like to update the 2022 Resources list for sharing with those who inquire (and our incoming Beginner Beekeeping class).

If you plan to have bees for sale next year, tell us your plans.

Click here to have your information added to our 2023 Resources*.

*This is simply a list of local suppliers; RPBBA does not endorse or give preference. Buyers are encouraged to do their own research before making their decision to purchase from any supplier.

Bee Vocabulary – “candy board”

A candy board is a hardened sugar mixture that’s made to be emergency feed during times of cold weather. Think of it as a large sugar cube. It is placed inside the hive, sitting on top of your frames, just below the inner cover.

Beekeepers in the News

Bees Shown to ‘Count’ From Left to Right for First Time

If you missed the story, you can read it at:

Virginia State Beekeepers Association (VSBA)

Reminder: VSBA Annual Meeting and Master Beekeeper Testing

Make your plans now to join VSBA for the Fall 2022 VSBA Meeting in Weyers Cave Virginia at Blue Ridge Community College on Friday, November 4th and Saturday November, 5th.

Registration and more information:

Presenters Include

  • Dr. Zachary Lamas

  • Dr. James Wilson

  • Mark Dykes Maryland Bee Squad

  • Kristen Clark, DVM, MPH, DACVPM

  • Karla Eisen, EAS Master Beekeeper

  • RPBBA Honey Bee Festival Chairs Gene DiSalvo & Rick Beaudet

  • Kristine Smith, VA Master Beekeeper

RPBBA members: plan to wear your green Honey Bee Festival shirt on Saturday, November 4th. Mark your calendar for the VSBA conference: Add to Google Calendar

More information about the VSBA programs can be found on their website:

This Month in the Hive (November)

The cold weather has arrived and will send the bees into a cluster that is broken open only when the temperature inside the hive rises above 57 degrees. The bees take cleansing flights on warm days. The cluster moves very slowly into empty honey cells and toward food sources when temperatures inside the hive exceed 42 degrees.

This is the month to make certain of sufficient winter stores. On a warm day, heft the hive and add honey frames or supers to bring each hive up to 40 pounds of stored honey. It is probably too cold to feed syrup. If the summer and fall were drought-stricken, and you have a starvation problem, consider feeding a pollen substitute in the form of a patty.

Stay out of the hives in November unless there is an emergency. The queen should stop laying by the end of November. The population is steady, with a few bees lost each day.

Learn how to make candy boards and pollen patties in case they are needed in January and February. Order bee gifts for yourself and friends for the holidays. Take your long-suffering spouse out to dinner to say thank you for tolerating the bees all year. Store and organize extra equipment for the winter. Keep snow and ice from blocking entrances and ventilation holes in the hives. Reserve packages or nucleus hives for next April if not already done.


What’s in Bloom (according to Maymont)

Elaeagnus, Holly in fruit, Bamboo, Abelia, Annuals, Perennials, Fall Foliage

[From ://]

Final Word

If you are not a member of RPBBA, we encourage you to join and be active. You can join on our website. If you are a honeybee enthusiast looking to get started, check out the Beginner Beekeeping course. This is where I got my start. 😀

We are always looking for ways to improve communications in the club. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please let me know.

I hope to see you at the meeting on Monday, November 14th.

Michelle Clark
Communications 🐝
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